CONDITIONS on a busy Stone ring road have been described as “chaos” - a year after action was taken to solve another bottleneck.
In February 2011 a traffic island was installed at the end of Christchurch Way to tackle congestion at the turning to Lichfield Street. But more than a year later the road is still a thorn in the side of many motorists.
Stone Town Council is due to discuss the issue at tonight’s meeting, two weeks after shoppers faced waits of up to an hour to leave Morrison’s car park because of gridlock on Christchurch Way.
In the summer of 2011 the nearby pedestrian crossing was moved further up the road in a bid to relieve delays for motorists, a move fiercely opposed by those concerned for the safety of pedestrians.
But on March 3 Councillor Jill Hood, who was in the town highlighting this year’s Stone in Bloom campaign, said she saw a member of Morrison’s staff “pressing the pedestrian crossing button to allow traffic to exit Morrison’s car park.” “I received a number of complaints from members of the public who had been stuck on Morrison’s car park, some for an hour on March 2, unable to exit the premises due to heavy traffic flow on Christchurch way. During the day on Saturday the same situation occurred,” she said.
“It is quite clear that the new traffic arrangement on Christchurch way is unworkable. The traffic was reduced to a crawl on March 3 and people were abandoning their cars at Morrison’s and complaining bitterly to us in the High Street.
“Very soon I’m afraid that an already ailing High Street will see a downturn in its local economy due to congestion on Christchurch Way. Visitors will avoid Stone as the town will soon get a reputation for becoming gridlocked on market days and at peak times.
County, town and borough councillor Philip Jones has said the measures put in place to tackle the Lichfield Street bottleneck have worked, and the scheme had also eased congestion at the entrance to Morrison’s.